38 Enterprise Europe Network February 2017 Ecuador joins EU-Colombia/Peru trade agreement Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström has signed the Protocol of Accession of Ecuador to the EU’s Trade Agreement with Colombia and Peru. A pro-development agreement that will open up markets on both sides, increase stability and predictability for trade and investment in both directions, and promote inclusive and sustainable development. The agreement will eliminate tariffs for all industrial and fisheries products, increase market access for agricultural products, improve access to public procurement and services, and further reduce technical barriers to trade. Once fully implemented, the savings for EU exporters will be at least € 106 million in tariffs annually, and Ecuadorian exports will save up to € 248 million in removed duties. This asymmetric agreement is tailored towards the developmental needs of Ecuador. The tariff-cuts will be implemented only gradually over 17 years, with the EU liberalising almost 95 per cent of tariff lines upon entry into force, and Ecuador about 60 per cent. According to the Commission’s estimates, the impact on the Ecuadorian GDP would be significant. The agreement will allow Ecuador to benefit from improved access for its main exports to the EU, such as fisheries, cut flowers, coffee, cocoa, fruits and nuts. Bananas will also benefit from a preferential rate, but a stabilisation mechanism will be in place allowing the Commission to examine and consider the suspension of preferences if an annual threshold is reached, as is currently the case for our trade deals with Colombia, Peru and Central America. The European Commission proposed updated legislation to ensure stronger privacy in electronic communications as well as policy and legal solutions to unleash EU’s data economy, as foreseen in the Digital Single Market strategy presented in May 2015. The package will additionally include new data protection rules for EU institutions and set out the Commission’s strategic approach to the issues concerning international transfers of personal data. First Vice- President Timmermans said on the data protection initiatives: “Our proposals will complete the EU data protection framework. They will ensure that the privacy of electronic communications is protected by up to date and effective rules, and that European institutions will apply the same high standards that we expect from our Member States.” Vice-President for Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip said on data economy: “In Europe, data flow and data access are often held up by localisation rules or other technical and legal barriers. If we want our data economy to produce growth and jobs, data needs to be available and analysed. We need a coordinated and pan-European approach to make the most of data opportunities, building on strong EU rules to protect personal data and privacy.” The proposal for ePrivacy Regulation aligns the rules for electronic communications with the new world-class standards of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. Meanwhile, the Communication on achieving the European data economy is addressing unjustified restrictions to the free movement of data across borders as well as several legal uncertainties and prepares the ground for next steps. Malta took over the EU presidency on 1 January, taking over the rotating presidency from Slovakia. For the next six months the island state will play a key role in setting the agenda, finding compromises and addressing a range of challenges such as the migration crisis and the likely start of the UK’s Brexit negotiations. The presidency of the Council rotates among EU member states every six months. During this 6-month period, the presidency chairs meetings at every level in the Council, helping to ensure the continuity of the EU’s work in the Council. The priorities of this firstever Maltese presidency will be driven by the objective to restore trust in the EU, need for a dialogue and reflection on the EU’s future as well as the pertinent issues relating to migration, security and economy. During the next six months, the presidency will focus on six key areas: migration, single market, security, social inclusion, Europe’s neighbourhood and maritime sector. Maltese MEP Marlene Mizzi said: “Having the EU presidency for first time is always challenging for smaller countries and having the presidency in such a turbulent time will make the work more difficult.” “The next six months must be about putting citizens at the heart of the EU agenda”, she added. “Europe needs to start listening to its people and acting on their concerns and aspirations.” In line with the objectives of the Energy Union’s low-emission mobility strategy, the EU is investing over €432 million from the Cohesion Fund in the extension of the Warsaw metro. Cities are hubs of growth and innovation, but also home to major challenges, not least air pollution and traffic congestion. With Cohesion Policy investments, the European Commission is delivering on the EU-wide goals of low-emission mobility and better quality of life for commuters. The major project adopted today for Warsaw will fund the extension of the Metro Line 2, linking the Eastern part of the city to the West. Digital Single Market Malta takes over EU presidency for the first time EU funds Warsaw Metro extension London Business Matters will continue to cover European Union news through its EEN pages during the course of the UK’s exit process as British business can still be directly and indirectly impacted.
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